Are You Ready?
Jun 25, 2020 | 6 min read | Shelby Little
It is one of those rainy spring days here in Rīga, Latvia, where it is the perfect balance of warm and cool. As I sit in this little cafe, sipping on a coffee and talking about life with Kristiāna, everything feels so very familiar. For the past two years, we have found ourselves having sweet conversations in different coffee shops and parks, as well as at my dinner table, rather often. These moments with her are always very precious to me and I have loved getting to see how she has grown over the past two years since I met her.
Today as we talked, we reminisced about those first moments when we met two years ago. I came to Latvia as a missionary, serving with Josiah Venture with a dream of seeing students fall in love with Jesus. I had visited the local Fusion ministry in Rīga, and Kristiāna was fearless to strike up a conversation with me. Her bright smile and warm demeanor were a shocking contrast from the Latvian cultural norms that I had been prepared to face. As we spoke, our connection felt immediate and it felt like God was giving me a little gift at the beginning of my journey.
Not long after that first conversation, Kristiāna and I began to meet regularly, and, because of her history with Fusion, she had a lot of information about God, Jesus, and the gospel. Together, we would talk about the things she knew, the questions she had, about her life, and her experiences. All the while, she was also meeting with a local leader who would do bible studies with her, allowing her to have many conversations in both her heart language, Latvian, and in English with me. Throughout that year, I asked Kristiāna multiple times if she was ready to give her life to Christ, and I continued to pray that God would soften her heart while challenging her to take a step closer to him.
Just a year ago, Josiah Venture hosted a large international event called Fusiondary. At Fusiondary, 1,000 youth from different countries all over Central and Eastern Europe came together and performed their Fusion concerts, listened to talks, and developed community with each other. They spent the weekend in a tiny town in the Czech Republic. It was at this event where I watched Kristiāna's life take a sharp turn just before my eyes.
As Fusiondary was getting closer, I felt this tug on my heart that I should be there, even though I am not a part of this ministry year-round. When God opened the door for me to go, I remember watching Kristiāna's eyes light up with excitement as I told her I would be there with her. I’ve come to learn that these large events take students away from their routines of normal life and open a door to hear the Gospel without distractions. After being presented with the gospel in a clear way, the Word of God sinks deeper into their hearts and allows them to have a new perspective on the type of life they want to lead.
It was there where I once again asked Kristiāna: “Are you ready to give your life to Christ?” I couldn’t believe it when she looked at me and said she was ready. I remember that conversation and the moments afterward like it happened yesterday: her warm hand in mine as we prayed, the excitement in her voice as she asked God to be the one in control of her life, how we switched to speaking Latvian halfway through praying, and the tears of joy that flowed down her cheeks immediately afterward.
Those minutes sitting on those steps in a little tiny town in the Czech Republic will forever be a glowing memory in my mind—and hers as well. It was the moment that changed her life for all eternity. Throughout the rest of the day, every interaction that Kristiāna had with anyone around us included her sharing about her new identity, and the biggest smile spread across her face every single time.
That was a year ago. Since that incredible moment, I have seen how Kristiāna is still very much that giddy girl, glowing with joy over her identity in Christ. I have also seen her yearning for knowledge and a closer relationship with him. We still meet quite regularly, and I have continued to watch her grow in her faith. I love seeing her heart for Jesus and for the people around her.
Today, as I sit here with her, I am once again overwhelmed by God's handiwork in her life. By no means is her life without its challenges, but his presence is visible—and his image is reflected in her in so many ways. I stand amazed and am in awe at how God has woven together these moments, our stories, our lives, and his ultimate purpose in a way that brings so much beauty.
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